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Music for the thinking ear
Director Ole Bækhøj on the 2019-20 season
For the longest time, the Olympic spirit also seemed to inspire the music world: “Bigger, louder, grander” might have been the motto. Given the technical advances of the 21st century, there are no longer practical obstacles to stop us from implementing these visions. Even sports arenas or industrial complexes can be outfitted with the necessary amplification.
The Pierre Boulez Saal embodies the antithesis of these ideas. The elliptical round seats a maximum of 682 guests, with performers and audience separated by just a few meters. The artists do not perform for an anonymous mass of people—they can see exactly who is listening, they can feel the visitors’ breath and pulse, and the emotions triggered by their music.
Concerts at the Pierre Boulez Saal enable shared experiences of a new intensity and quality. The separation of active musicians and passive recipients is overcome, thanks to the intimacy of the space—as a listener, you are in the midst of the action, becoming part of the performance. But it is not merely the barriers between stage and auditorium that disappear; within the audience, one can also feel a special bond. Through proximity, eye contact, the closeness of the setting, people separated by many factors—background, age, political views—experience the power of music to unite, to create meaning, to inspire joy. Anyone entering this hall with an open spirit will find it difficult to resist its impact.